Killer Within comes about three months after the wrap up of the previous book, Killer Instinct. Lane’s world has been toppled over and what she knew to be true and concrete was really a big, fat, juicy lie. Her mom, a respected FBI agent, was actually a serial killer. Dear ole mom was also married to a serial killer. And to place a succulent wee cherry on top of all this awesome, together Mom and Dad trained Lane to do the same.
Mom and Dad are dead. The former by Lane’s own hands. Now Lane has to make sense of life after killing her mom, the Decapitator. Sure, Lane has her gig as a local vigilante, righting the wrongs she sees in some hope of NOT falling into the family business. But it’s tough when she’s been trained since childhood to not feel, to not care, and to see things as black and white. If something needs to be “taken care of,” then you take care of it. Know what I mean?
And everything was great with the Masked Savior biz. Bad people were arrested, sometimes beaten, but they were pulled off the streets. Lane got her predator high. Innocent people were safer in the crime-plagued streets of Virginia.
But then Lane discovers she has a copycat. And worse, a fan site. A blog forum where people actively follow the escapades of the Masked Savior, even offer criticisms over who MS does or doesn’t OFF from the list of eligible baddies. But when the copycat veers from the usual acts that the Masked Savior does—like hurting people who aren’t exactly bad—then lane has a bigger issue. Special Ops are targeting the vigilante, hoping to bring him—or her—to justice.
I thoroughly enjoyed Killer Within. It’s one of those books that grabs you and keeps hold until you turn the last page. And it’s because of Lane.
Lane is such a cool character to read. She’s actually kind of dude-ish in a lot of ways, and I think that’s why I like her. Lane isn’t worked up about prom, or what to wear, or if even the high school hottie thinks she’s cute. Nope. None of that. School is just a way to be normal for her and her family. Her stepdad, little brother, and sister have no idea what Lane’s extracurricular activities are. And Lane keeps it that way. She keeps her dark side close to home, not letting anyone see it. What Lane really cares about is the killer’s high. It’s been too long since her blood has pulsed with adrenaline and that spark of electricity that comes with bringing the pain on her victims. She wants it. She needs it. She craves it.
The pacing of Killer Within was surprisingly quick. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes it read so well. A good chunk of this book is pure internal. As in, it’s all in Lane’s head. Her working through things. Who’s this copycat? What’s going on with her sister and why is she so—well—sisterly all of a sudden? Does her stepdad or Grandfather know what she’s about? She has so many questions throughout this book and it’s all about her figuring these things out. There is action, but not nearly as much as I thought there would or should be. But it works! While reading this book, I burned dinners, I nocialized (read, which is a big no-no usually) at the dinner table, and I took longer than normal lunch breaks all so I could keep reading. I seriously could not put it down. I had to find out if Lane would put the pieces together. There was no other option.
With a book like Killer Within, the plot is a bit far-fetched. You have a teen serial killer who was taught everything by some slightly (read: a LOT) off-center parents. The teen has fair to poor social skills, but she somehow manages to hold onto her humanity. Sure, she can kill a grown man quicker than he can say, “Boo,” but Lane also still has a heart. She wants to play the good daughter role for her family. She has guilt. Despite being a trained killer with a semi-conscience, Killer Within is still a hookable book.
The only part that really got to me as being problematic within the plot is how her stepdad never suspects anything. Lane stays out almost every night supposedly studying at a coffee shop down the road. Call me crazy, but my folks would have NEVER in a million years let that fly for me. And I was a good kid with no curfew and great grades. It was just shy of believable for me.
All in all, Killer Within is a mind-job of a ride, packed with all the questions that would send “normal” folks off anxiety’s edge. It questions the fine line between right and wrong, black and white. Lane is an intensely independent figure who only fractures a couple times and around certain people: queue a certain super hot scene with a certain Issa brother. Wowzers!
Killer Within will appeal to readers who enjoy a likable not-quite-good-guy (erm—girl) who thinks for herself. Some scenes are a tad graphic, so beware if you’re sensitive that way. It’s not a cozy, summer read, but Killer Within is a sure-fire dose of adrenaline and intrigue.